J. V. Stalin
Source : Works, Vol.
5, 1921 - 1923
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.
In my article in Pravda, No. 99 on the organising role of the press, I pointed to two mistakes that Ingulov made on the question of the press. In his article in reply (see Pravda, No. 101), Ingulov makes the excuse that his were not mistakes, but "misunderstandings." I am willing to call Ingulov's mistakes "misunderstandings." The trouble is, however, that Ingulov's rejoinder contains three new mistakes, or, if you like, three new "misunderstandings," which, unfortunately, cannot possibly be ignored in view of the special importance of the press.
1. Ingulov asserts that in his first article he did not consider it necessary to concentrate on the question of the organising role of the press, and that he pursued a "limited aim," namely, of ascertaining "who makes our Party newspaper." All right. But, in that case, why did Ingulov quote as a heading to his article a passage from the Central Committee's organisational report, a passage which speaks exclusively about the organising role of our periodical press? One thing or the other: either Ingulov did not understand the meaning of the passage, or he built his entire article in despite of and running counter to the precise meaning of the passage from the Central Committee's organisational report concerning the organising significance of the press. In either case, Ingulov's mistake is glaring.
2. Ingulov asserts that "two or three years ago our press was not connected with the masses," "did not connect the Party with them," that, in general, connections between the press and the masses "did not exist." It is sufficient to read this assertion of Ingulov's carefully to realise how utterly incongruous, lifeless and divorced from reality it is. Indeed, if our Party press, and through it the Party itself, "had not been connected" with the masses of the workers "two or three years ago," is it not obvious that our Party would not have been able to withstand the internal and external enemies of the revolution, that it would have been buried, reduced to nothing, "in no time"? Just think: the Civil War is at its height, the Party is beating off the enemy, gaining a number of brilliant successes; the Party, through the press, calls upon the workers and peasants to defend their socialist homeland; tens, hundreds of thousands of working people respond to the Party's call in hundreds of resolutions and go to the front, ready to sacrifice their lives; but Ingulov, knowing all this, nevertheless finds it possible to assert that "two or three years ago our press was not connected with the masses, and consequently, did not connect the Party with them." Isn't that ridiculous? Have you ever heard of a Party "not connected with the masses" through a mass press being able to rouse into action tens and hundreds of thousands of workers and peasants? But since the Party, nevertheless, did rouse into action tens and hundreds of thousands of working people, is it not obvious that the mass party could not possibly have done that without the aid of the press? Yes, somebody certainly did lose contact with the masses, but it was not our Party and not its press; it was somebody else. The press must not be maligned! The fact of the matter is that the Party certainly was connected with the masses through its press "two or three years ago," and it could not have been otherwise; but that connection was comparatively weak, as was justly noted by the Eleventh Congress of our Party. The task now is to widen this connection, to strengthen it in every way, to make it firmer and more regular. That is the whole point.
3. Ingulov asserts further that "two or three years ago there was no interaction between the Party and the working class through the press." Why? Because, it appears, at that time "our press, day after day, issued a call to struggle, reported the measures taken by the Soviet Government and the decisions of the Party, but there was no response from the working-class reader." That is what he says: "there was no response from the working-class reader."
It is incredible, monstrous, but it is a fact.
Everybody knows that when the Party issued through the press the call "All to aid transport!" the masses responded unanimously, sent hundreds of resolutions to the press expressing sympathy and readiness to uphold the transport system, and sent tens of thousands of their sons to maintain it. But Ingulov does not agree to regard this as a response of the working-class reader, he does not agree to call it interaction between the Party and the working class through the press, because this interaction took place not so much through correspondents as directly between the Party and the working class, through the press, of course.
Everybody knows that when the Party issued the call "Fight the famine!" the masses unanimously responded to the Party's call, sent innumerable resolutions to the Party press, and sent tens of thousands of their sons to fight the kulaks. Ingulov, however, does not agree to regard this as a response of the working-class reader and as interaction between the Party and the working class through the press, because this interaction did not take place "according to rule," certain correspondents were by-passed, etc.
It turns out, according to Ingulov, that if tens and hundreds of thousands of workers respond to the call of the Party press, that is not interaction between the Party and the working class, but if in response to the same call the Party press receives written replies from a score or so of correspondents, that is real, genuine interaction between the Party and the working class. And that is called defining the organising role of the Party press! For God's sake, Ingulov, don't confuse the Marxist interpretation of interaction with the bureaucratic interpretation.
If, however, interaction between the Party and the working class through the press is looked at through the eyes of a Marxist, and not of a bureaucrat, it will be clear that this interaction has always taken place, both "two or three years ago," and before that, and it could not but take place, for otherwise the Party could not have retained the leadership of the working class, and the working class could not have retained power. Obviously, the point now is to make this interaction more continuous and lasting. Ingulov not only underrated the organising significance of the press, he also misrepresented it, replacing the Marxist conception of interaction between the Party and the working class through the press by the bureaucratic, superficially technical conception. And this is what he would call a "misunderstanding." . . .
As regards Ingulov's "ulterior aims," which he emphatically denies, I must say that his second article has not dispelled the doubts on that score that I expressed in my previous article.
Pravda, No. 102, May 10, 1923